Friday, May 30, 2014

Geophysics Field Camp Week Three: I Like Processing Things

Out in the field, I had geophysics dreams.

I was walking along the survey line taking measurements with the magnetometer. I wasn’t the only one who had geophysics dreams out in the field. Our professor and field camp coordinator Andrei (more affectionately known as "Swiddy" or "Dr. Drei.") said he had dreams about driving around in his truck, making sure everything was going well. My classmate Roy said he had a dream about a geophysics survey as well.

Back in Golden in front of a computer, the hours are less intense than when we were out in the field. Geophysics doesn’t take over our entire lives…well, at least we get weekends back here.

But geophysics still takes over my dreams.

I’m part of a two-woman team that is processing the gravity data from our geophysical surveys down near Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Gravity processing is fairly uncomplicated, and as a result, we have been able to get things done relatively quickly. First we had to apply some corrections to the data, since gravity measurements are sensitive to elevation, latitude, and terrain/topography. Then came the fun part of creating a model for our data. This consists of drawing a geologic model of the subsurface in a program. The program tells us how well our model matches our data, and we tweak the model to reduce error but at the same time to agree with the interpretations that our classmates in other methods are producing. The past couple of days have mostly consisted of forward modeling for us.

Our working forward model of the subsurface created in GMSYS. It fits the data pretty well.

All this gravity gets into my head I think, because I had a dream that the Gravity and Magnetics team was racing to get everything done before everyone else. Which is weird because in real life, we really don’t need to race.

At any rate, I'm enjoying the computers part much more than the exhausting part. It’s not as fun in some ways of course, but I love the fact that my team is on track and that we don’t have to do geophysics stuff from 7AM until 6PM anymore. Our classmates in charge play funky music. Sometimes there are donuts. One day I ate two donuts. It's a good environment for geophysics. 

Out in the field, I would shovel my lunch into my mouth and be done in ten minutes.
Back in the lab, I go make myself a nice sandwich and savor the hour lunch break we get to take.
Out in the field, time would fly in the flurry of activity that geophysical surveying is.
Back in the lab, it’s more relaxed, at least in this third week. We get time to process processing.

I like processing things…I like being able to think about something and understand it. I have also had time to mentally process the field part of field camp and catch up on sleep. As one of my friends in the GP class of 2014 said, "It's the most fun you never want to have again." So true. 

I had another dream. I was helping the EM team (electromagnetics) write their report while they did some processing stuff. That dream was way too realistic, because it ended up happening. To add to the list of realistic geophysics dreams, Roy said he had a dream that he was processing the EM data. This also continued to happen. My classmate Tiffany had a dream about a bear, which makes sense because we saw a bear almost every day out in the field, but the part where the bear attacked did not come true.

I wonder if I will ever have ordinary dreams again, such as the ones I used to have a a kid; dreams containing tornadoes, tsunamis, and giant earthquakes that are geophysically inaccurate.